Although the Netherlands is not famous for mighty castles and palatial castles, there are a large number of magnificent country estates. Of course, there are castles, but typically are mainly estates with landscaped parks and landscaped gardens. In Dutch, such country estates are referred to as buitenplaats . They were used as summer seats outside the cities. Rich citizens and the nobility moved with a large part of the household from the stuffy cities in the country in their buitenplaats. There they spent the warm season.
Frequently, the park was first created and a few years later, only a residence built. So the park could be used from the beginning. Many buitenplaatsen are now used as a museum or hotel, some of them are still inhabited.
Some of these estates were the target of a two-day press trip with the NBTC , the tourism marketing office for the Netherlands. On the tour we could see some impressive examples of today’s use of the estates.
The journey to Enschede with the regional train was already an adventure of its own for this article. From there, the ride went quite comfortably with a minibus to the other stations.
Museum No Hero – founder Geert Steinmeijer explains a painting by AR Penck
In Delden, which lies in the Twente region, about 10 kilometers west of Enschede, opened on April 15, 2018 a remarkable museum: ‘ No Hero’ . Private collector Geert Steinmeijer has collected more than 700 works of art with changing emphases in more than 20 years. Paintings, sculptures, furniture and vases from Europe, America and Asia. From the collection, from which he repeatedly exhibited pieces in museums, was born in his hometown Delden, the Museum No Hero. The name was taken from the foundation that Steinmeijer founded for his collection and alludes to the role of the art collector: the focus should be on art, not the collector. With a former administrative building of the manor Twickel a suitable place for the museum was found.
The exhibition is designed dynamically, currently around 170 works can be seen. The first focus is under the title “I am a Berliner”. Paintings by the “Junge Wilden” of the West Berlin art scene find their place alongside works by well-known GDR artists. Accompanied by Italian and Dutch classics as well as a socio-critical view of contemporary China.
The sculpture garden shows a chronological walk through the collection focus of the donor.
The No Hero Museum in Delden is a lofty project, one of the most noteworthy start-ups of contemporary art museums in the Netherlands. And that is about 20 kilometers from the German border.
Sculpture Park in the Museum No Hero
Museum No Hero
Hengelosestraat 2/4, 7491 BR Delden
Open: Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am – 5pm
The art experience in Delden can be perfectly combined with a visit to the estate Twickel, with its spacious landscaped park and the picturesque garden.
Estate in the landscape park: Twickel
In the garden of the estate there is also an orangery used as an orangery, which serves the orange trees as quarters in the cold season. In summer, it serves the coffee enjoyment. The sculpture garden of the estate takes the word garden very literally: figurines carved from hedges line the paths.
Sculpture garden, the second: hedge art in Twickel
The estate Twickel, now in the administration of the Stichting Twickel, includes several properties and with 4000 hectares the once largest private property of the Netherlands. The country house in Delden is privately inhabited and can be visited only a few days a year.
Twickelerlaan 1A, 7495 VG Ambt Delden
Garden and visitor center open for visitors: April to October, Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm
Café in the Orangerie: May 21st to September, Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am – 5pm
Visits of the Kasteel Twickel with guidance on special days .
We stayed in the Groot Warnsborn estate , since 1996 a luxury hotel. Groot Warnsborn is located on the outskirts of Arnhem / Arnhem, yet in the middle of the forest. The access road leads us through a part of the nature reserve Veluwe.
Landhotel Groot Warnsborn on the edge of the Hoge Veluwe
The design of the rooms is particularly individual: a free-standing bathtub next to the shower cubicle is integrated into the room. In a separate niche, closed by two wooden gull-winged doors, the bed. Door closed, Waldhüttenromatik pure.
Not least was the kitchen, which we were allowed to enjoy in several courses at dinner. Unfortunately the stay was too short. Walks through the Veluwe lured directly at the hotel. Those who came from the morning jogging round shone happily. But a minibus already expected the travel company for the way to other, worth seeing country houses.
Hotel Groot Warnsboorn
Bakenbergseweg 277, 6816 VP Arnhem
Anatomy of the flower – once science today Art: Flower Power in the Museum Oud Amelisweerd
On an old Rhine arm, the Kromme Rijn , lies the old manor Amelisweerd in Bunnik in the province of Utrecht. Given the approximately two-meter wide river, the name Rhine seems a bit exaggerated, but actually flowed here once a large stream. Dyke buildings in the 12th century led the river into another bed and gave it its present form. That seems to me a suitable topic for a deepening blog article.
The main building of the manor houses the Museum Oud Amelisweerd . It shows changing exhibitions, currently until 16 September 2018 with “Flower Power” art around the flower. The exhibits on display are loans from the museums of the province of Utrecht. Classic paintings, highly aesthetic, scientific exhibits, contemporary art, expressionism and contemporary criticism, as well as the flower as an erotic symbol, span a broad spectrum of the exhibition.
Art and a worth seeing museum building: Museum Oud Amelisweerd
Seductive: the scent of the former coach house. Here fresh bread was baked and offered for sale and consumption in the local organic café.
Museum Oud Amelisweerd
Koningslaan 9, 3981 HD Bunnik
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 5pm
Only since 2017 does the Kasteel Broekhuizen host a hotel, our stop for lunch. In a spacious park is the main building, a magnificent little castle. With several outbuildings ready for ceremonies, the hotel is especially popular for weddings.
Only a few meters away: Hotel Parc Broekhuizen
The restaurant also relies on the haute cuisine : in the open-plan kitchen portioles were lovingly served, vegetable slices decorated, garnished with saucenkringeln and dots and here and there, the gas flame is flambé used. Innovative and creative is the motto. The kitchen has already been awarded and a star at the Michelin Guide is not excluded.
I enjoyed the vegetarian menu and was passionate about beetroot foam with salty marshmallow and smoky grilled spicy cabbage quarters . With a view of the park we had the sommelier explain the wines and we are fine. The bottle prices in the wine rack next to us, we ignored it: four-digit.
Cleverly draped: small pieces of leaflets
The Hotel Parc Broekhuizen is located about 2o kilometers east of Utrecht, in the village of Leersum in the municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
Hotel Parc Broekhuizen
Broekhuizerlaan 2, 3956 NS Leersum
About four kilometers away was our last stop of the tour, there it was imperial: Huis Doorn, exile of Emperor Wilhelm II. The last German Emperor lived here from 1919 until his death in 1941. In a mausoleum in the park of the estate is the tomb of the emperor.
The bust of the emperor in exile
Worth seeing is the Museum Huis Doorn with the exhibition of works of art, utensils and furnishings of the imperial family. Many rooms are still preserved as they were last used.
Impressive: the covered table in the large dining room combined with a special cutter, knife and fork in a piece of cutlery, because the Emperor could hardly use his left arm due to a birth injury.
With pomp and Tschingderassabum – the emperor saber
Amusing: an early example of ergonomic sitting is in the Emperor’s study. At his desk, Wilhelm always sat in the saddle, even if it was jacked up as a chair. Probably because of his bad back.
Sublime: in the sitting area in the living room there was an additional seat cushion in the Emperor’s armchair. He always wanted to tower above his neighbor.
Information and commemoration: the role of the Netherlands during the First World War
But the touch of history not only blows in the former residential building on House Doorn. An information center for the First World War was opened in an outbuilding in the park this year. One hundred years after the end of the war, the focus of the exhibition is the role of the neutral Netherlands.
The journey to Dutch castles and country estates showed impressive examples of today’s use of the former noble and citizen seats. And that’s just a small part, there are many more! For example, in the links above …
Thanks to the NBTC, there especially Alexandra Johnen, for the organization and the invitation to this tour. Many thanks for the first-class support on site, by the mentioned museums and the foundations or the operators of the estates. Thanks for all the information, the small and big stories about historical places.
And thank you for delicious food at our gastronomic stations, as well as the accommodation in a special place.